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Sings Tommy Collins

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Album Review

Tommy Collins' legacy was greater than his success on the charts, which, despite a few Top Ten singles in the mid-'50s, was never sustained. However, he was a king in California, and he exerted considerable influence on Bakersfield country and its two figureheads, Merle Haggard and Buck Owens, who frequently cited his importance and recorded his songs. Owens, in fact, was a guitarist in Collins' band, which gave him one of his first big breaks, and he decided to return the favor by recording an album of 12 Collins songs in 1963. Like any tribute by an artist who knows his subject intimately, the song selection is highly individualized, but in the case of a cult act like Collins, this works to his favor, since it captures all sides of his character. Owens doesn't rely only on the silly songs that brought Collins some success, but he does cut "It Tickles," a goofy, annoying song about a moustache. But Owens knows what makes Collins an unheralded great: how he could be silly but also have plaintive weepers like "High on a Hilltop" and rocking juke-joint ravers like "If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')," popularized by Faron Young. Owens plays up these two sides, slightly favoring the uptempo side, which comes as little surprise to those familiar with the high-octane, high-twang country of his early Capitol records. Owens didn't have hits with this record, but it did go to number one, and it does stand as one of his most consistently satisfying long-players, thanks to the pen of Tommy Collins and the wonderful performances of Buck Owens & His Buckaroos.

Customer Reviews

Buck’s renditions of 12 Collins classics!

Back when Buck Owens was a struggling guitar player, bouncing around the bars of Bakersfield, Tommy Collins heard him and hired him for his band. When Capitol Records producer Ken Nelson heard Buck’s skills during a Collins recording session, he was so impressed that he began using him on other artists’ sessions regularly and signed him to the label as a solo artist. With Buck Owens Sings Tommy Collins, Buck acknowledged the career boost given to him by Tommy and repaid the favor by recording twelve of his favorite Collins compositions. As you listen to Buck’s renditions of Collins classics like “If You Ain’t Lovin’ You Ain’t Livin’,” you’ll hear the obvious respect he has for his former employer’s repertoire. You’ll also hear a singer and guitarist at the top of his game, ably abetted by top-notch instrumentalists, including longtime Buckaroo Don Rich. Whatcha gonna do now? Listen to this amazing album, of course!


Born: August 12, 1929 in Sherman, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Buck Owens, along with Merle Haggard, was the leader of the Bakersfield sound, a twangy, electricified, rock-influenced interpretation of hardcore honky tonk that emerged in the '60s. Owens was the first bona fide country star to emerge from Bakersfield, scoring a total of 15 consecutive number one hits in the mid-'60s. In the process, he provided an edgy alternative to the string-laden country-pop that was being produced during the '60s. Later in his career, his musical impact was forgotten by some...
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